Summary: A sermon about trusting Jesus.
"Getting out of the Boat"
I'm trying to remember if it was in KidzJam or Sunday school.
It was one or the other.
I was tucking Mary Ellen into bed on a Sunday evening and I asked her what she had learned in, again, either KidzJam or Sunday school.
And she told me this story of Jesus walking on the water, and the disciples thinking He was a ghost.
She said it word for word, almost exactly as it's written in the Bible.
Obviously it had really caught her imagination.
She was fascinated.
And this is, a very fascinating story.
It also has a lot of depth.
How long have you known this story?
For some, like Mary Ellen, you have known it since you were a kid.
And for others, perhaps this is the first time you are hearing it.
In any case, there is a lot to learn from hearing it again and again.
We are picking up right where we left off last week.
Jesus was tired.
His disciples were tired.
They had been grieving over John the Baptist's murder.
And so they had tried to "get away" and "be alone."
They had gotten into their boat and sailed to a deserted place, but it didn't work.
The crowds had followed them, probably about 10-15,000 people.
And even though Jesus was consumed with grief Jesus had "compassion for them and healed those who were sick."
Then, when everyone was hungry--instead of sending the people away--Jesus blessed what the disciples had--5 loaves of bread and 2 fish...
...and everyone was fed.
Now Jesus is really, really tired.
And we are told in verse 22, "Right then, Jesus made the disciples get into [the] boat [again] and go ahead to the other side of the lake [again] while he dismissed the crowds."
Then Jesus went up a mountain by Himself to pray, regain strength, and I would imagine--mourn.
And we are told, "Evening came and he was alone."
Then, sometime in the wee hours of the morning, Jesus goes to "catch up" with the Twelve disciples.
And the disciples are having a horrible time.
A storm has whipped up, and they are being battered by the waves and the wind; they are far away from land.
And that's when they spot someone or something walking on the water.
We are told that they were "terrified and said, 'It's a ghost!'"
"They were so frightened they screamed."
Why did they think they were seeing a ghost?
Well, what would you think?
Even if I saw my wife walking on the water, coming toward me as I was in a boat during a storm--I'd scream.
How about you?
I don't believe in ghosts, but I might start believing if I saw Clair walking on the water on a dark, stormy morning.
Anyway, this was Jesus coming toward them, but this was Jesus as they had never seen or known or understood Him before.
What kind of a being can do such things?
To get into the mind of the disciples at that moment, we need to get into their world.
These guys were Jewish men living 2,000 years ago.
They thought about things and interpreted things according to their background and how they were taught.
That's what we do now.
That's what they did then.
And for these guys, water represented much more than a mere "physical reality."
According to Karl Barth, water, in Hebrew thought was "the principle which, in its abundance and power was absolutely opposed to God's creation."
"It represented all the evil powers which oppressed and resisted the salvation intended for the people of Israel."
Think about it.
Throughout the Old Testament, it is God's Lordship over the chaotic waters that continuously proves God's victory.
Think back to the very beginning, in Genesis Chapter 1 we are told, "When God began to create the heavens and the earth--the earth was without shape or form, it was dark over the deep sea,"
But God proved God's power over the chaotic waters.
God said, "Let there be light.' And so light appeared."
And then God went on to create the world.
In Genesis Chapter 9, God made a covenant with Noah promising, "that never again will all life be cut off by floodwaters.
There will never again be a flood to destroy the earth."
In Exodus Chapter 14, God delivered the Israelite people by "pushing back the sea."
In Joshua Chapter 3, the Jordan river had overflowed its banks completely, but God made sure all of Israel was able to cross into the land of promise "on dry land."
Over and over again we see that God is the only One who can triumph over the waters.
God tramples the waves in Job Chapter 9 and Habakkuk Chapter 3.